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Business Observer Thursday, Sep. 13, 2007 14 years ago

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Fox Electronics marketing XpressO oscillator to JapanAT&T widens cell coverage with new Sanibel towerKesselring Holding Corp. appoints Badertscher to CEOWCI elects Icahn, ends sales effortObee's accelerates marketingFormer Hartford Canada presidentnamed new Oswald Trippe COOChico's increases board, adds Staples CFORaymond James Financial offers 10-cent dividend

Corporate Report

by Sean Roth | Real Estate Editor

Fox Electronics marketing

XpressO oscillator to Japan

Fort Myers-based Fox Electronics has launched sales of its new line of XpressO oscillators in Japan, marking the company's latest efforts to market the product worldwide. Fox Electronics says the company has already achieved record-breaking sales, following marketing in the North American, European and Chinese and the Asia Pacific markets.

"The Japanese market is the most demanding, which is why we choose to launch the XpressO there last," E.L. Fox, Fox Electronics president, said in a press release. "Japanese companies are very nationalistic and will typically only buy a product if they cannot get it from another Japanese company. At this point there is no Japanese equivalent to the XpressO oscillator...."

Fox Electronics launched the XpressO oscillator in late 2006 and worked with customers as they tested samples for a number of months. In July, sales began to spike with 43,000 XpressO oscillator sold. On Aug. 7, the company sold 42,000 XpressOs in a single day. Sales for the month of August totaled 88,535, which marked a 33% increase over July's sales.

The XpressO oscillators, a new family of configurable crystal oscillators, can be used in a number of applications, including computers, test equipment and air conditioning control panels. The oscillators cost 20% to 50% less than the standard fixed-frequency oscillators that they are designed to replace.

Oscillators are electronic timing components that generate frequency signals in devices such as computers, wireless modems, printers and other devices. They are extremely important for computer performance in determining the rate at which a computer can perform instructions, or clock speed. XpressO oscillators are reported by the company to be the fastest miniature oscillators in the world.

Fox Electronics reportedly holds a 1.3% share of the worldwide oscillator market and plans to increase that number to 10% by 2011.

AT&T widens cell coverage

with new Sanibel tower

AT&T Inc. has activated a new cell site on Sanibel Island in Lee County, as part of the company's $133 million statewide wireless network investment for 2007. 

The new Sanibel cell site, which is located on Wulfert Road, is focused on extending coverage along Sanibel-Captiva Road and improving in-building coverage on the island.

The Wulfert Road site is the third cell site that AT&T has activated in Lee and Collier counties this summer. In June, the company activated two cell sites in Naples: one on 34th Avenue, which is expanding coverage south of the intersection of Interstate 75 and DeSoto Boulevard, and another on Borghese Lane, which increases coverage at the Hammock Bay Golf and Country Club and along Route 951 south from Naples to Marco Island.

AT&T plans to activate several dozen cell sites in Florida this year, with the majority of the sites planned for the fast-growing Fort Myers, Naples, Sarasota and Tampa markets.

AT&T has invested more than $800 million in its Florida wireless network since 2005. The investment includes the rollout of AT&T's third-generation wireless broadband network last fall in Tampa, Daytona, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Orlando, Melbourne, Lakeland, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. The company is expanding its 3G footprint in 2007 to include the Treasure Coast and Key West.

Kesselring Holding Corp.

appoints Badertscher to CEO

Bradenton-based Kesselring Holding Corp. has appointed Douglas P. Badertscher as CEO, succeeding Ken Craig, who will continue as director.  Additionally, Cliff Wildes is stepping down as COO to focus as chairman of the board and on acquisition opportunities.

Badertscher has served as CEO or COO for public and private surgery centers, ancillary healthcare providers and physician groups, including Midtown Imaging, Coastal Orthopedics, Integrated Orthopedics and Pendulum Practice Management Co.

He also has 14 years of experience in the financial industry as the manager of New York-based companies Equitable and Mutual of New York.

Kesselring Holding Corp's subsidiaries include: Kesselring Coastal Construction Corp., Kesselring Aluminum Corp., King Brothers Woodworking Inc., and King Door & Hardware Inc. 

WCI elects Icahn, ends sales effort

Putting an end to what was pretty much a foregone conclusion, Bonita Springs-based builder WCI Communities Inc.'s board of directors has put Carl Icahn at the head of the company. The board elected Icahn chairman.

"Despite the rough road ahead, I believe in the long-term value of the company and view the WCI platform as a unique vehicle to take advantage of the current market disarray," Icahn said.

At the same time, the board of directors terminated the company's sales process pointing to the fact that no definitive proposals had been submitted. The company is said to still be pursuing alternatives to improve the company's balance sheet.

Other members elected to the board are Don E. Ackerman, Charles E. Cobb, Jr., Hilliard M. Eure, III, Keith Meister, David Schechter, Craig W. Thomas, Nick Graziano and Jonathan R. Macey.

Obee's accelerates marketing 

Port Charlotte-based Obee's Franchise Systems Inc. is launching a new marketing push designed to quicken the ramp-up of a national base of obee's soups salads & subs restaurants. The company's new lead generation and sales program is designed to drive inquires for new franchises directly to the company's network of area developers. Obee's Franchise Systems is currently developing regional newspaper ads, planning a 2008 franchising trade show schedule and making Web site enhancements, including owner testimonials and video tours of obee's locations.

"We have an established franchising framework comprised of area developers throughout the U.S.," Peter Brown, Obee's Franchise Systems president, said in a press release. "Our next step is to support this network by driving a steady flow of inquiries for new franchises through our franchising pipeline."

Officials with Obee's Franchise Systems say the company is also considering a limited time program offering franchisees additional financing and compensation incentives.

There are currently more than 50 obee's locations open and under development. The franchise company says it has commitments from its network of area developers to open an additional 1,000 stores over the next 10 years.

Former Hartford Canada president

named new Oswald Trippe COO

Fort Myers-based Oswald Trippe and Co. Inc. has appointed Gray Davis to chief operating officer. According to Gary Trippe, Oswald Trippe chairman/CEO, Davis will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the agency.

"Gray's vast 'hands-on' administrative, operational and executive insurance experience will be an asset to OTC as we continue the growth of our company," Trippe said in a press release announcing the position change. "I will continue to handle the financial, marketing and agency expansions. As president, John Pollock will continue to lead the agency's relationships with insurance companies and the community."

Davis began his insurance career in 1986 when he was hired as an operations trainee for The Hartford Financial Services Group in Orlando. In 1994, he had advanced to the position of president and CEO for The Hartford of Canada. Davis also has held executive positions with standard, specialty and nonprofit companies, and most recently was a founding member and president/CEO of Integrus Insurance, a specialty-niche virtual insurance company based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Etc...

Chico's increases board,

adds Staples CFO 

Fort Myers-based specialty retailer Chico's FAS Inc. has appointed John J. Mahoney to its board of directors, increasing the total members on its board to 10. Mahoney, 55, is the vice chairman and CFO for Staples Inc., a $16-billion office supply retailer. He has served in several executive positions with Staples since 1996. Prior to Staples, Mahoney was a partner at Ernst & Young LLP.

Chico's operates 964 women's specialty stores under the Chico's, White House | Black Market and Soma Intimates names.

Raymond James Financial

offers 10-cent dividend

St. Petersburg-based financial services firm Raymond James Financial announced its board of directors authorized a quarterly cash dividend of 10 cents per share, payable Oct. 18 to shareholders of record Oct. 2. The announcement marks Raymond James' 21st consecutive yearly dividend.

Raymond James' three wholly owned broker/dealers, Raymond James & Associates, Raymond James Financial Services and Raymond James Ltd. have more than 4,640 financial advisors serving 1.6 million accounts in 2,200 locations throughout the United States, Canada and worldwide.

VoicePowered Solutions 

hires Wingspan Marketing

VoicePowered Solutions has commissioned Sarasota-based marketing and public relations agency Wingspan Marketing Group Inc. (WMG) to design a new corporate identity. The new identity is scheduled to coincide with the opening of VoicePowered's new corporate facility in September.

Oldsmar-based VoicePowered Solutions offers inbound and outbound teleservices to companies and political campaigns.  

Compress Technologies

working with Soneticom

Sarasota's Compress Technologies Inc. and Soneticom Inc. of Melbourne have partnered to design and evaluate what officials from both companies believe will be a new analogue to digital filter for FM radio broadcasting equipment.

Soneticom develops custom hi-tech communications products and systems. 

Compress Technologies holds a group of technology solutions utilizing both hardware and software applications designed to improve the efficiencies of bandwidth and network topographies for the Cable TV, FM-SCA Radio, Satellite and Wireless Industries. Many of Compress Technologies' systems reportedly reduce the size of the digital packets without losing the integrity of the transmitted data. 

Carter|VerPlanck

new wastewater blower

Tampa-based Carter|VerPlanck has added the Neuros High Efficiency Turbo Blower to its line of products. The environmentally friendly green product can be used in wastewater treatment throughout Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama.

The turbo blower does not require a gearbox or lubricating system, unlike similar items on the market. It is also designed to be 30% to 50% more efficient than existing blowers.

Carter|VerPlanck provides innovative products and processes for the water and wastewater treatment industries.

Thinking Systems products

land at hospital network

The Joint Department of Medical Imaging for University Health Network, Mount Sinai Hospital and Women's College Hospital of Toronto has purchased Thinking Systems Corp.'s ThinkingPACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) solutions for its Nuclear Medicine, Nuclear Cardiology, PET-CT and PET-CT fusion and other specialty departments. The deal was handled through ADN Canada Inc., Thinking Systems' exclusive distributor in Canada.

The package of products include Thinking Systems' ModalityBroker, which will integrate the specialty modalities to the existing picture archiving system; NuGateway DICOM gateway, a product that brings nuclear medicine data from legacy scanners and workstations to PACS; and MDStation, a specialized workstation.

Thinking Systems is a St. Petersburg-based medical software developer and marketer. The University Health Network is a health care provider in Canada's healthcare system, with three hospitals: Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret. 

Verizon Southeast exec retiring, 

replaced by Surinder

Suri Surinder is replacing John Ferrell, Verizon's Southeast region senior vice president and general manager. Ferrell, who is retiring, was responsible for installation, maintenance, network construction, customer service, cost management, sales and local marketing for Verizon's Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina areas. 

Surinder was previously senior vice president for process assurance and operations support for regional operations and supported Verizon's wireline operations in 27 states and the District of Columbia. Surinder was responsible for centralized line and staff support for the company's nine geographically clustered regions where Verizon provides wireline communication services.

Also he previously served as market area president-North Central and was vice president of broadband operations for Verizon.

Surinder will be stationed in the Tampa office.

Roper Industries

offering October dividend

The board of directors for Sarasota-based engineer-product firm Roper Industries Inc. has approved a dividend of six-and-a-half cents per share payable Oct. 31 to stockholders of record Oct. 12. The company produces products related to: water, energy, radio frequency and research/medical uses.   

Tampa's Växa adds 

sinus formula

Tampa-based Växa International, a manufacturer of homeopathic medicine, vitamins and nutritional supplements, has added Växa Sinus Formula, a new product designed to relieve sinus problems, to its product line.

Växa Sinus reportedly helps alleviate or eliminate mucus buildup, sinus and eye pressure and other aliments and helps repair sinus cell tissue. Other current Växa's products address heart disease, ADD/ADHD, high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, arthritis, and diabetes.

Keller Rohrback

scrutinizing HMA saving plan

Seattle law firm Keller Rohrback LLP says it has opened an investigation focused on Naples-based Health Management Associates Inc. for potential violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The investigation is examining investments in HMA stock by the Health Management Associates Inc. Retirement Savings Plan.

With the company and stock recently taking a large hit because of rising patient collection problems, Keller Rohrback is said to be looking into whether the retirement plan's administrators bought company stock when it didn't make financial sense.

Spanish translation, marketing firm

enters Sarasota-Manatee market

Alina Mugford has started a new marketing consulting, translation and interpretation company servicing the Manatee-Sarasota counties called The Translation Link LLC. The company is designed to assist businesses in dealing with foreign business cultures and speakers. Some of the services The Translation Link plans to offer include localized web sites, brochures, newsletters, manuals, menus, price lists, ads, product description and other printed materials.

The Translation Link translated much of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce Web site into Spanish.

Noted open-innovation author

advising Tampa's UTEK

UTEK Corp., a Tampa technology transfer company, has appointed Professor Henry Chesbrough as a strategic advisor. Chesbrough will assist UTEK with open innovation, a method of acquiring or licensing externally developed ideas or technologies particularly from universities and research laboratories.

Chesbrough's 2003 book, Open Innovation, was named one of the best business books of 2003 by Strategy and Business Magazine. Scientific American named him one of their top 50 business and technology leaders that same year. His most recent book, "Open Business Models" examines business model innovation, as well as open innovation.

Chesbrough is currently an adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business, as an Adjunct Professor and executive director of the Center for Open Innovation, Institute of Management, Innovation & Organization. He holds a Ph.D. from Berkeley, an MBA from Stanford, and a BA from Yale University.

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